TUCSON, Ariz. — Fifty high school students from across Arizona are set to complete the KEYS research internship program at the University of Arizona, which culminates in a public research showcase on Friday.
The seven-week KEYS program was designed uniquely to allow motivated students with a strong interest in bioscience, engineering, environmental health or biostatistics to work side-by-side with top UA faculty in world-class research labs.
Highlights of the program include:
- Training in laboratory techniques and safety.
- Building on what is learned in classrooms with real-world application in a lab setting.
- Working hands-on with mentors on an actual university research project.
- Learning how to communicate challenging scientific concepts.
- Preparing and presenting a research poster.
- Participating in a public research showcase at the end of program.
- Meeting other motivated students in the pursuit of new ways of thinking and learning.
- Developing professional and peer relationships.
Past interns have assisted in creating better ways to detect and treat diseases such as Alzheimer's, cancer, asthma and diabetes; exploring the effect of contaminated water sources on populations and the environment; studying plants and animals to determine their impact on ecosystems; and analyzing the role genes play in individual human health.
The 50 interns in this class were chosen from 193 applicants representing 33 different high schools across Arizona including Tucson/Southern Arizona, as well as Phoenix, Casa Grande, Chandler, Gilbert, Glendale, Mesa, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Scottsdale, Tempe and Yuma. The selection process included a formal review of their writing, teacher recommendations, and an interview with KEYS program staff. The interns will present what they have learned this summer working side-by-side with top scientists in UA research labs. KEYS program alumni will also talk about their post-KEYS journey, and how the internship impacted them.
Many high school students interested in the biosciences are never able to practice and contribute to actual hands-on research. They learn about science only through textbooks. Through KEYS, the UA provides real-world applications that have the potential to spark intellectual and creative curiosity. Interns have an opportunity to pursue their passion for research, while exploring their academic, professional and personal goals.
With the addition of this year's cohort, 477 students will count themselves as KEYS alumni. As of the 2017-2018 school year, 97% of program alumni either attended or are currently attending college, with many of those choosing to pursue degrees in STEM fields. Approximately 71% of participants are women, and 57% are from underserved populations. Approximately 72% of KEYS alumni have chosen to stay in Arizona for college, with the majority of those attending the UA. All KEYS alumni accepted to the UA will automatically enter as Honors College students.
Interns have contributed to the progress of science by producing data for research grant applications or publications. Several of them have been included as authors on manuscripts that will come from their research projects. Others will present their work at conferences. Many go on to work in their laboratories beyond their KEYS internships.
For more information, visit keys.arizona.edu.